A controversial ski resort is before the courts but thousands are still agitating to keep Jumbo wild.
On March 14, Columbia River – Revelstoke MLA Norm Macdonald and Nelson – Creston MLA Michelle Mungall presented a petition with approximately 61,000 signatures to the B.C. Legislature, calling for the permanent protection of the Jumbo Valley.
Wildsight and Patagonia, in opposition to the proposed Jumbo Glacier Resort in the heart of the Purcell Mountains, organized the petition. The remote wilderness is critical grizzly bear connectivity habitat and an important spiritual site for the Ktunaxa First Nation.
The Ktunaxa claim the valley would be desecrated by the proposed Jumbo Glacier Resort. They are defending the area with a judicial review under consideration by the Supreme Court of Canada.
“It would be a very important act of reconciliation on the part of the government of B.C. if they chose to walk with us to develop permanent protection for the spiritual, cultural, environmental and other values in [the Jumbo Valley],” said Kathryn Teneese, chair of the Ktunaxa Nation Council in a statement.
The Jumbo Valley sits in the central Purcell Mountains, in a large unprotected area between the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy and Bugaboo Provincial Park and Glacier National Park to the north.
The proposed $450 million Jumbo Glacier Resort would offer year-round skiing on a series of high elevation glaciers in the Upper Jumbo Valley in the Purcell Mountains, 55 kilometres west of Invermere.
The project would consist of a gondola, three glacier T-bars for winter and summer skiing, and two chairlifts. A resort of 6,250 beds, including 750 beds for staff housing was planned.
Another First Nations group, the Shuswap Indian Band, also have claims to the territory and supports the project. They have signed an Impact Management and Benefits Agreement.
Oberto Oberti, the Vancouver-based developer behind Jumbo Glacier Resort, has touted the economic benefits of the project, which would cost $15 to 20 million a year in construction expenditures for a period of 20 years. It would provide about 4,000 construction jobs followed by 750 to 800 full-time resort jobs.